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Vietnam's Textbooks Lack Gender Diversity, Reinforce Stereotypes: Report

A new study has shown that male-centric content dominates school textbooks in Vietnam, hindering gender equality.

VnExpress reports that a study conducted by the Ministry of Education and Training and UNESCO looked at 76 textbooks across six subjects for local students in grades 1-12.

Of the 8,000 human characters in these books, 58% were male, while 41% were female. It is unclear who made up the remaining 1%. This disparity actually gets worse as students progress through school, a conference on the subject heard on Monday in Hanoi.

Males make up 51% of the characters in elementary school textbooks, but this figure jumps to 81% in high school-level textbooks. The study also showed that 95% of the examples of important historical figures were male, the news source shares.

The careers portrayed in local textbooks also skew gender dynamics, with men shown as doctors, scientists and engineers, while women are often depicted as housewives, teachers or office workers.

Tran Kim Tu, an official at the ministry, said at the conference: "Male-dominant content and images in textbooks can shape our children's mindsets and slow down the process of achieving gender equality in society."

Meanwhile Nguyen Minh Thuyet, the editor-in-chief of general textbooks in Vietnam, stated that writers and editors would work to rectify this imbalance, while adding that this would be difficult as many were unaware of the problem until the report highlighted it.

[Photo via Room to Read St. Louis]

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